In West Michigan, fall can feel like the briefest of seasons; the moment between summer and winter, when the world is suspended in a swirl of color and the crisp air lingers on the side of comforting. From exploring local orchards to enjoying seasonal ales to learning how to knit, we’ve compiled a list of must-do activities to get the most out of autumn.
- Visit an Orchard
Does anything say, “fall” more than a day at the orchard? Many local orchards offer u-pick apples, homemade apple cider, donuts, corn mazes, mums and more. Check out Ed Dunneback & Girls Farm, Wells Orchards, Versluis Orchards or Robinette’s.
- Make Mulled Wine
The scent of mulled wine alone will transport you autumn-town. Simply simmer wine (red or white), citrus, cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, sweetener (sugar, honey or maple syrup) for 15 minutes or up to 3-4 hours.
Bust out the gourds. Buy that cinnamon-scented broom. Pull out the flannel blankets. Its fall — make your home feel it. Local art galleries, such as Mercury Head Gallery, Gallery 154 or Lafontsee Galleries, are great places to pick up one-of-a-kind seasonal decor.
- Pick a Pumpkin
Need we say more? Our favorite spots to grab this iconic seasonal fruit are Bos Greenhouse and Farms, Ed Dunneback & Girls Farm and Robinette’s.
- Hold a Pumpkin Decorating Party
Once you’ve got your pumpkin, have friends and family over for a decorating party. Don’t limit yourself to carving (not that there’s anything wrong with a good ol’ fashioned jack-o-lantern!) Explore different methods of spicing up your pumpkin, like painting contemporary patterns, using washi tape or glue and garlands.
- Bake a Pie
Much like mulled wine, the aroma of a pie baking in your oven is deeply evocative of the season. Try apple pie, pumpkin cheesecake or pecan pie.
- Attend a Harvest Festival
Dive headfirst into the season at a harvest festival. Make a scarecrow, dip candles and enjoy donuts, cider, and local beer at Harvest Festival at Blandford Nature Center on Saturday, Oct. 12.
- Start a Coat Drive
Fall is the turning point in the season where a coat is now a necessary part of your wardrobe. Why not share the warmth and start a coat drive at your work, in your neighborhood or at your child’s school, and donate to a local shelter like Degage or Mel Trotter Ministries.
- Go on a Brewery Tour
Fall the perfect time to go on a brewery tour and sample the seasonal ales. To book a tour today, check out Grand Rapids Beer Tours.
- Visit a Winery
A glass of wine in hand is a great way to celebrate the changing of seasons. What could be better than planning a day to visit a winery on a beautiful fall day? Some great wineries to check out are Arktos Meadery and Hudsonville Winery.
- Make Your Own Custom Scented Candle
Nothing gets you more in the fall spirit than smelling scents such as pumpkin spice, cedar magnolia and cinnamon. You can even create your own custom scented candle with your favorite fall aromas at Wax Poetic Candle Bar in Eastown.
Enjoying nature and soak up all the fall surroundings by spending an afternoon hiking. Check out Siedman Park, Provin Trails or Huff Park.
- Go Through a Corn Maze
A fun fall tradition is getting lost in a corn maze and enjoying the thrill of, “Will I ever escape? Grab some friends and get lost in the Corn Mazes at Robinette’s, Ed Dunneback & Girls, or the New Salem Corn Maze.
- Watch Scary Movies
Embrace the spooky season by bundling up and watching some scary movies. Nothing gets you in the Halloween spirit like watching some horror movies. Stream your favorites in the comfort of your own home with a few friends to join in the screams; or immerse yourself in the experience of watching a horror classic on the big screen, complete with popcorn, at Wealthy Theatre.
- Go on a Color Tour
Much like going on a hike, a color tour is a wonderful way to enjoy the beautiful fall scenery in West Michigan. Pure Michigan offers a great recommendation for a Color Tour route covering Grand Rapids, Grand Haven, South Haven, and Kalamazoo.
- Enjoy Seasonal Beverages
Apple cider is the perfect autumnal drink — stock up on it while it’s fresh and in season. Head over to Robinette’s to stock up on their fresh apple cider straight from their very own mill. And, let’s not forget about pumpkin spice lattes! If you are a fan, let the haters hate and indulge in this seasonal staple at your favorite coffee shop.
- Learn How to Knit
Learning to knit is a great excuse to stay bundled up inside as you gain a useful skill. Also, having a few extra pieces of winter apparel never hurt anyone, especially with snow right around the corner!
- Sign Up for a Chili Cook-Off
Chili is the food that screams fall — and everyone has their own signature recipe! If you don’t have one, sign-up for a chili cook-off and get started! The Apartment Lounge is hosting its 7th Annual Chili Cook-Off Oct 13.
- Visit a Haunted House
Much like how watching spooky movies will get you into the Halloween spirit, so will visiting a haunted house. Celebrate spooky season the right way and subject yourself to a good scare at The Haunt or Moonlight Manor Haunted Mansion.
- Host a Halloween Party
A lot of what makes fall, well, fall is Halloween. Gather your friends, fill the punch bowls, prep the snacks, and host a Halloween party.
- Go Apple Picking
Apple picking and fall just go together, it’s a fact. Check out Ed Dunneback & Girls Farm, Wells Orchards, Versluis Orchards or Robinette’s.
- Host a Soup Potluck
Soup is a satiating dish that can bring you warmth on a crisp fall day — and there are so many different kinds! Host a potluck where everyone signs up to bring a different kind of soup and let the sampling begin.
- Hygge Your Living Space
Fall is a season on change. The weather is changing as well as the leaves changing colors. Why not change up your living space too? Bust out your cozy throw blankets, scatter some candles and get your hygge on.
- Take Family Photos Outside
Fall is a beautiful time to get outside and take some photos. Gather your friends or family and pose next to some pumpkins and capture the perfect fall aesthetic.
- Write Thank You Cards
Get into the spirit of the season by expressing gratitude towards others. Writing a thank you card is a great way to express to those around you that you are thankful for them.